Life in the Marine Corps is in many ways like a civilian job once you have completed all of your training and schooling. In a typical civilian job, most people work from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They show up for work in the morning grab a cup of coffee and often start their day with some sort of regular routine before focusing on more specific tasks that need to be completed. Around noon a one hour lunch is taken and in the afternoon specific task’s are focused upon. Life in the Marines is much the same way!
I was an infantryman in the Marine Corps for four years from 1993 1997. The first 6 months of my four years as an active duty Marine were much different than a civilian job. The first six months for me consisted of boot camp, and formal infantry training at what is known as the School of Infantry (SOI). We all are pretty much aware of what boot camp is like. In boot camp, nasty civilians are transformed into one of the few, the proud, a Marine! You will get yelled at a lot, you will PT (physical training) a lot, and you will either lose or gain a lot of weight! You will learn how to fire a rifle with pinpoint accuracy at 500 yards, learn how to wear a uniform correctly, and will learn about the many traditions and customs Marines live by. You’ll also learn a lot about Marine Corps history, first aid, and how to do basic warfare. In three months you will be transformed into one of the Few. I won’t lie; boot camp is tough, very tough. Once you get through it though, you will be a much better person for it and will be bursting with confidence.
After boot camp comes your formal schooling. It is at this point that you will attend some sort of school to learn the skills needed to perform your job well. It may be communication school, the school of infantry, or some kind of avionics school. Whatever it is, it will be much easier than boot camp and you will have much more freedom than in boot camp. At this point, you will be considered a “boot” a Marine who has just completed boot camp. Boots still have no idea what the “real Marine Corps” is like. The real Marine Corps in known as “the Fleet” or “FMF”, the Fleet Marine Force!
Once you are in the FMF, your real job begins. In the FMF your life will be very similar to a civilian’s life. You will be paid a salary, and will work from about 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m much of the time. In the infantry, you will often start your day with a healthy dose of PT (physical training). The PT will often consist of a multi-mile run, combined with other exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, side-straddle-hops, etc. When you are “in the rear” or not out in the field training, you will often have classes about such things as how to read a map, how to do first aid, how to call in mortar fire, and how to conduct a patrol. Other times you will be preparing for the next field exercise by packing up your gear and getting briefed on what type of exercise it will be. As a boot, you will be sent on “working parties”. These are odd jobs that need to be done around the base and within your unit. You may be asked to help sort gear at supply, help build wooden tank targets for a firing range, or you might just be out picking up trash. Whatever you are asked, do it and do it well you will be rewarded for it. The rest of the time, you will be performing your job. For an infantryman, that means conducting field exercises. This includes attacking an enemy position at a live fire range, shooting live rounds and throwing live grenades in a house made out of tires, and rappelling of the side of a 100 foot rock wall. When you are done with these field exercises, you’ll return to “the rear” and the cycle will begin again. That’s the very bare bones basics of what it is like in the Marines as an infantryman.
Of course, there is much, much more to it than what I have just described here. If you have a question about what life is like as a Marine Corps Infantryman, find your way to this free Marine Corps Community where there are hundreds of members willing to answer your questions! I’d be more than willing to answer any question you may have myself!